What is a Project Closure Checklist?
A project closure checklist (or project closeout checklist) is used by project managers to evaluate the business outcomes when formally closing a project. It helps assess project activities such as actual performance versus baseline objectives, unaddressed issues, and lessons learned within a project life cycle.
Why use a Template for Project Closure?
Project closure checklists help ensure that all the necessary steps are completed for projects and that nothing is forgotten. They also help to ensure that all team members are aware of the required steps and that all are on the same page.
Project Closure Steps
In the final phase of a project, it is critical to follow a methodical process to ensure a successful closing of the endeavor. To make sure that you’re not missing anything, follow this step-by-step guide:
- Transfer all deliverables – The first step to project closure is to make sure that all the required deliverables from you were completed and transferred to the client as needed. As well, handover newly updated systems or processes that were identified during the course of the project.
- Authorize project closure – All people involved should agree that the project is complete before formally closing it out. Gain proof of completion by obtaining approvals and signatures from all key stakeholders indicating that all the deliverables were met. Lastly, ensure that there are no pending or open issues because of the project.
- Finalize the paperwork – Complete the paperwork by checking if there will be a closure document to follow through with. Review all the contracts and documentation such as invoices, papers regarding internal partners, supplier contracts, or other third-party documents that were enclosed in the project.
- Release resources – Next, free all the teams and team members you assembled for the project. Formally release them so they are clear to jump to the next projects where they are contracted. Additionally, make sure that no more work is done on the project and that all site operations and facilities used are closed down.
- Arrange project review – Gather your core management team and conduct a meeting to get feedback on how the project performed. This is also the opportunity to recognize the successes, failures, challenges, and limitations of the project in terms of budget, efficiency, and quality. These can then be used as a well-grounded basis for the planning stage of succeeding projects.
- Announce project closure – Formally announce the closure of the project and celebrate with the team. This is a great avenue to acknowledge the group’s hard work, increase their morale, and create an opportunity for more efficient project management in the future.
Indicators of Upcoming Project Closure
Project closure is the last phase of the project lifecycle. It helps in measuring completion and success while the project is in motion. Overlooking the project closure process can lead to legal issues, business conflict, and lack of accountability. To prepare accordingly, one must take note of the indicators of project closure:
Schedule is one of the most crucial parts of project closure. Adhering to the timeline set by sponsors is important in measuring project milestones. Visibility in every aspect and proper tracking of all activities is necessary to check if the project is on schedule and follows the original plan.
Evaluate if deliverables meet the standards set out in your quality plans. Featured products should meet 100% of the business case objectives. Also, assess if there are issues and risks that need to be addressed.
RAG stands for Red, Amber, and Green, with each color indicating the current status of a key performance area. Monitor project status and ensure that everything is in the Green—project is running smoothly and that all aspects are within tolerance.
Allocating budget costs is a vital part of project closure. Calculate the current financial performance and compare it with the projected business budget. Check if all procurement requirements were delivered and keep track of variances.
Regular meetings with business stakeholders keep them up to date with the project status. Check business benefits if they adhere to project objectives, if you have met sponsors’ expectations, and provide solutions to the problem stated in the business case.
Wrapping it up: Contents of a Project Closure Template
In a nutshell, a project closure checklist template should help allow the project manager to summarize the following:
- which tasks were completed;
- what still needs to be done; and
- who is responsible for each task.
It can also be used to record any changes, corrective actions, and learnings from the project in order to continuously fine-tune processes and, hopefully, better execute future projects. The project closure template should also be used as near the project’s wrap-up stage as possible to help make sure that all relevant information is included.